Punctuated by John Schuster's pin of Cambridge's Dion Nixon at 189 pounds, Franklin moved five wrestlers into today's Class 1A-2A state tournament semifinals at Western Maryland College.
Also advancing for Franklin, which led second-place Kent County, 48 1/2-41, were Matt Schuster (103), Stan Wagner (112), and twins Luke (140) and Sam (145) Mays.
But John Schuster's fall over Nixon was most impressive, coming against a wrestler who entered at 37-1, his only previous loss by 6-4 decision.
"Everyone knew we had a shot. We didn't expect to have as great a first round as we did," said Schuster. "We had five out of six win in the semis, and the only loss was real close. We practiced with South Carroll real hard, and we have to keep wrestling at this pace."
River Hill's defending state champ Brandon Lauer (112) had to come from behind for his 10-9 victory over Towson's John Narlis, improving to 71-0 for his high school career.
On the other side of the 112-pound bracket, Southern senior Nick Alley, a state champ as a sophomore, scored a 16-0 technical fall to reach the semifinals.
For sixth-place Overlea (29 points), the next closest local team, the Laubach cousins, Jason (125) and James (135), advanced impressively. Teammate Derrick Oxendine (145), a two-time county and regional champ, moved to the semis via a 17-2 technical fall.
Joppatowne heavyweight Tony Zeller also advanced by decking Hammond's Matt Nelson, last year's state runner-up. Loch Raven's 6-foot-7 heavyweight Greg Walker also advanced.
Hammond's state champ Vaymond Dennis (135) couldn't escape Owings Mills' Drew Bowers, who caught him for his 114th career fall to reach the semis. Clayton Arnold (103) also advanced for Owings Mills.
South Carroll held a slim lead over state duals champ Damascus, 51 1/2-51, with Kellen Weber (103), Dan Patterson (112) and Mike Muller (152) all pinning their way into the semifinals.
Also advancing for the Cavaliers were Bryan Hamper (130), who edged Damascus' Ryan York, 5-4, and Chris Currence (171), who defeated Arundel's Matt Neidig, 10-7. Neidig had beaten Currence twice.
Muller, the Cavaliers' winningest wrestler with 111 career victories, faces Annapolis' Andrew Hemminger. Hemminger twice placed third at states.
For third-place Arundel (37 points), Shannon Webber (112), Pat Ortman (130) and Jeff Blachly advanced. Reaching the semifinals for Old Mill (29, fifth) were Adam DeCosmo (119) and two-time state champ Chris Combs (125).
Eveleth brothers Matt (103) and Jeff (112) of Chesapeake-Anne Arundel both advanced, along with teammate Melvin Guthrie (189). Jeff pinned Wheaton's Tim Toa, whom he'd defeated in overtime earlier this season.
Meade's top-ranked Matt Pandullo (119), a fourth-place finisher last season, avenged a semifinal loss of a year ago with his overtime win over Bladensburg's Kevin Bryant.
C. Milton Wright's John Thornton (171) improved to 34-0 in reaching the semifinals, and Aberdeen's Matt Kunkle (189) moved to 32-0.
Parkville coach Joseph Passalacqua pulled what many observers called a "classy move."
Passalacqua knew his heavyweight wrestler, Breon Johnson, was hurt so badly that he could not continue after being slammed by Arundel heavyweight Jeff Blachly, a state runner-up last year who had been dominant.
But rather than allow Blachly to be disqualified, Passalacqua asked officials to allow the wrestlers to restart the match, briefly, so that he could throw in the towel shortly after the whistle was blown.
Old Mill lost three of its nine wrestlers in the first round. Josh Liston (130) and top seeds Eric Hill (135) and James Fleming (140) were pinned, Hill's being a defensive fall.
Because of the tournament's follow-the-winner format, Fleming and Hill have been eliminated.
Pub Date: 3/06/99